Language is a Bridge Builder

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” – Colossians 4:6 Continuing our focus on the power of words, yesterday we spoke of one man’s attempt to unify the world through one language and usher in world peace. It’s important to honor culture and language as we travel, especially internationally. Learning basic greetings, statements, and questions in another country’s language shows you care, even if most people there speak English and you are an English speaker. If you put in a small amount of effort, you will be amazed at the benefits you will receive.    On a trip to Paris, I learned that very often Americans would visit and never learn any French or think about the culture of Paris. If you go into a bakery in Paris, the proud owner of the shop will greet anyone who

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The Power of Unity

“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” – Philippians 2:1,2 When a large group of people are united, there is incredible power to behold. You can accomplish a lot when everyone is on the same page. Do you remember the months following the 9/11 tragedy? There was this incredible unity among Americans that hadn’t been felt in a long time. There was no Democrat or Republican division. Our nation decided to love and support one another. We set our differences aside for one common cause — to pick up the pieces from one of the worst tragedies ever. Maybe you’ve had a moment in your country or culture

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Words Create Culture

“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” – 1 Peter 4:11 Our focus the last few days has been on the power of our words in a team or organization. My focus today is on the ability we have to use the right words to create the type of culture we want within a group. A group can be your family, church, community cause, workplace, or business. Words matter because they can impact people positively or negatively. They can also dictate actions and affect morale within a group. Language has the power to reinforce attitudes and behaviors, and can shift culture in either a

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You are a Leader!

“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” – Hebrews 13:7 Did you know that you are a leader? Regardless of whether or not leadership is implied in your title, if you are a Christian, you are called to lead. No matter where you are today and how insignificant you think your title is, because you are empowered by the Holy Spirit, you have influence! As we continue talking about our workplaces and how we handle professional relationships, my challenge to you is this: Don’t worry so much about the perfections or imperfections of your employer, but instead focus on transforming your organization’s culture one relationship at a time. Rather than trying to find a perfect boss or a workplace that’s known for being joyful and productive, work to cultivate the atmosphere you seek in

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The Words of Jesus

“Jesus answered, ‘It is written: Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” – Matthew 4:4 Yesterday, we talked about solitude, the first of three habits we observe as we study the life of Jesus. Today, I want to introduce the second discipline we see our Savior exercising consistently, and that is Scripture memorization. Committing the Word of God to heart was a practice that was deeply embedded in Hebrew culture, and for good reason. Unlike today, when nearly everyone has a Bible in their possession, the scrolls were kept at the synagogue, so memorizing them was the primary way to carry them into daily life. Perhaps this is why every Jewish child was required to commit to their minds the Torah — or the first five books of the Old Testament — while they were still young. If they

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Belong Before You Believe

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” – Matthew 25:35 Yesterday, I shared that my family moved to Oklahoma when I was a teenager and how, even though the transition was tough, the Lord set me up for some great things in that season. In fact, one of the biggest blessings I found was a vital youth group. As a ministry of Church on the Move, it was one of the largest in the country and had well over 2,000 young people in attendance each week. They had their own building half a mile from the main church campus, and from the minute I walked in, I felt welcome. It was a high schooler’s paradise, and as I looked around, I saw industrial cages with guys playing

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Replication vs. Self-Gratification

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” – Matthew 28:19 Yesterday, we looked at the manner in which Jesus invested in making disciples rather than in building an empire. We saw that by befriending and mentoring a group of people, His influence was replicated in ways that wouldn’t have been possible had He focused solely on His own glory. Interestingly, I believe one of the greatest case studies for these principles in modern-day Christianity is a man named Chuck Smith. Most of us have heard of him, but he was the founder of Calvary Chapel, which started here in Orange County and now has influence all over the world. Surprisingly, when I hear his name, I recognize it, but I’m not bombarded by images of his “larger than life” personality nor do

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The Root of the Problem

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.’” – Matthew 5:27-29 As Christians, we should constantly seek to become more like Jesus. While this is an everyday aspiration, looking ahead to a new year gives us an opportunity to commit ourselves again to the call of discipleship. In light of our divided culture — one in which social media has given everyone a platform — many of us feel a burden to cultivate unity. More than ever, we’re zealous about bringing divine justice and mercy to earth, yet

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